Texas Children’s Volvelle Invitation

Texas Children’s Volvelle Invitation - PaperSpecs

I was again reminded how crucial a granularly knowledgeable printer is to the success of any printed piece, and how the intricacies of the process can inform the design and vice versa.

– William Strew, Designer

For more than 1,000 years, volvelles, or wheel charts, have been a fun and interactive way to present practical information. So when Texas Children’s Health Plan was preparing to open their second Center for Children and Women, in-house designer William Strew knew the perfect high-impact piece to use to grab people’s attention.

No stranger to volvelles, Strew’s vivid childhood memories include playing with an old Vernon Farm Calculator he discovered in his great aunt’s house.

As the Texas Children’s Health Plan branding system already used circular design elements, Strew realized the volvelle would be an excellent way to present their VIP invitations.

“Even the simplest printed piece offers something to the senses that a digital invitation can’t,” Strew explains. “And by having multiple layers—literally—to read and manipulate…the piece becomes even more memorable and appealing.”

Strew leaned heavily on the expertise of John Earles at Workhorse Printmakers to ensure the 7” letterpress printed piece aligned perfectly when die cut and assembled.

“Large floods of color with letterpress printing can be tricky to execute,” says Workhorse Printmakers Co-founder John Earles. “Staying on color through the run required constant attention. The large, intricate die cut also required careful make-ready to get clean cuts and strip correctly. You could say I learned that I have a lot to learn about the creative possibilities of print in general, and letterpress in particular.”

But the true beauty of this piece lies in how it all works together. The salty textures created from the heavy vellum paired with the perfectly matched brand colors and meticulous execution by the Workhorse Printmakers team make for a tactilely pleasing, interactive piece. Who knows, it might be unearthed years from now in some musty attic to inspire a whole new generation of designers.


Project Details

Title Texas Children’s Volvelle Invitation Client Texas Children's Health Plan Date October 2014 Design William Strew Print Workhorse Printmakers Houston, TX Paper Neenah Paper Gruppo Cordenons Wild White 166 lb. Cover

Production Details

Dimensions 7" round Print Quantity 275 Production Time 2 weeks Printing Method Letterpress Number of Colors 2 colors Finishing and Binding Diecut, grommet

  1. josh 5 years ago

    Lovely creative work here! I’m looking to make my own volvelle. I’m having a hard time finding the grommet to use as the hub. Where can such a thing be found and purchased? I’d love to know.

    • Aaron Berman 5 years ago

      A very good question, Josh. A quick Google turns up many grommet suppliers, but it’s really hard to work out the kind used here. We suggest contacting the printer of the piece in question here: https://workhorseprints.com/contact/ Hope that helps!

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